Wind-On Leader - Step-by-Step Video and How-to

By Capt Andy LoCascio - 01/11/2020 - Short URL:

Wind-on leaders can be very expensive. Experienced anglers use them for nearly all trolling applications. They can also be used for conventional reels loaded with braided line used for jigging and bottom fishing. Aside from the fact that this is the strongest possible connection, it also passes easily through guides and level-wind reel eyelets.

Step-by-Step Video

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How-to Build a Wind-On Fishing Leader

With just a bit of practice, these simple steps will have you building perfect wind-on leaders in just minutes.

Time requred: About 15 Minutes

Supplies needed:

  • copper irgging wire
  • hollow braid. monofilament or flurocardon leader material
  • dental floss
  • Zap-a-Gap glue
  • snap-swivel
  • crimps
  • loop protector

Tools required:

  • tape measure
  • clipper
  • fine sand paper
  • hollow rigging needle
  • crimping tool

1. Create your own loop needle (one time)

Rather than buying a loop needle, just use a 26 inch length of solid copper rigging wire. Fold it in half to create a 3/8 inch loop one one end. Hold the other two ends and twist the entire length of wire. Bend the the non-loop end at 90 degrees to create a stop when passing the needle through the braid. Pro-tip: The length from the bend to the end of the loop should be 12 inches.

2. Create a simple jig for clamping the wind-on leader (one time)

This jig will be used to hold the section of the wind-on leader assembly during the step when the end of the braid is whipped with dental floss. It typically consists of a 24 inch board with two uprights. The uprights have clamps hold the leader in place during the whipping process.

3. Cut a 6 foot length of hollow braid

Select a hollow braid with a diameter that fits snug over your monofilment or fluorocarbon leader. The actual length does not need to be exact, but you need just over 2ft for the loop end which leaves you 4ft to slip over the leader. It is really not necessary to use anything longer. This combination will certainly give you maximum strength.

4. Mark the insertion point for the loop needle

Since the loop needle is approx. 12 inches, measure from one end of the braided line 24 inches PLUS the length of your desired eye loop times 2. For example, if you want a 1 inch eye loop (smallest recommended), your mark needs to be at 26 inches (24 + (1 * 2)). Making the loop smaller than 1.5 inches will make it difficult to join with the main line (typically a double line loop).

5. Create the eye loop

Insert the loop needle into the braid at the mark pointed toward the end you measured from in the prior step. Thread 12 inches of braid over the lenght of the needle (which should take you to the 90 degree bend in the needle) and exit the braid. Pass the end of the braid through the eye loop and pull the loop needle back out of the braid. Detach the loop needle. Adjust the size of the eye loop and smooth the braid back towards the insertion mark. The end of the braid should disappear inside the insertion mark. If not, re-adjust the eye loop and smooth the braid again. Pro tip: After you push the tip of the needle back out through the braid, use your finger nail to re-open the eye loop and then press if closed again.

6. Prepare the leader material

Cut the leader material to the desired length. It typically ranges from 16-20ft based on the application. However, it certainly could be shorter or longer. Fold a piece of 220 grit sandpaper and use it to rough up one end of the leader material. Insert the sanded end of the leader into the hollow rigging needle. Pro tip: Select a needle diameter that fits snug of the leader material. It will make this process much easier.

7. Thread the leader material through the hollow braid

Insert the needle (with the leader material attached) into the end of the hollow braid. Carefully thread the braid over the needle and the leader material until the needle is nearly up to the double line of the eye loop. Push the tip of the needle out through the braid until the leader is visible. Remove the needle and smooth the hollow braid strting a few inches the the exit point until the leader disappears in the braid. This takes a bit of practice at first. If the leader slips out the needle while treading, push the tip of the needle out through the braid, pull out the needle and the leader, and repeat this step.

8. Whip the end of the braid with dental floss

Smooth the hollow leader over the leader and pull the leader tight within the hollow braid. Insert of leader into your wind-on leader jig. Cut a 24 inch length of dental floss, double it up, loop it over the hollow braid approx. 1/2 inch from the end. Pass the cut ends back through the loop in the dental floss. Pull the dental floss loop tight and then retighten the leader within the hollow braid. Repeat the process until the dental floss covers at least 3/8 inches of the leader material. Trim the end of the floss as close asa possible and smooth over the tag end (if any).

9. Cover the dental floss with Zap-a-Gap

Apply a thin coat a Zap-a-Gap glue over the entire section of dental floss. Zap-a-gap is basically an inexpensive, high volume type of super glue. Allow the glue to dry completely before coiling the wind-on leader for storage.

10. Attach terminal tackle (optional)

Select the appropriate terminal tackle. It should be rated at least as high as the leader material. Be sure to use a loop protector and the appropriate size crimps. Pro tip: Anytime you make a new wind-on leader, test it until it breaks to make sure that all your connections are as good as they can be.

By Capt Andy LoCascio - Host of Northeast Angling TV
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